Main Article Content

George Hull


Decoloniality theory, with its signature concepts coloniality of power and coloniality of knowledge, initially emerged in Latin America. It has been developed further in southern Africa, where it now has significant influence in some universities. Decoloniality theory has to be distinguished from the broader endeavour of intellectual decolonization. The latter includes all intellectual efforts to free theory and ideology from distorting bias which is the effect of colonial or neocolonial power relations. Intellectual decolonization in this broader sense (e.g., in the writings of Anthony Appiah and Kwasi Wiredu) is truth-oriented: it aims to expose incorrect claims which are the result of bias, replacing them with correct theoretical conclusions. By contrast, contemporary decoloniality theory (e.g., in the writings of Walter Mignolo and Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni) embraces several contentious metaphysical ideas, among which is rejection of the very possibility of universal truth. When decoloniality theory first emerged (in Aníbal Quijano’s innovative writings) out of the discipline of political economy, however, it exemplified the broader, truth-oriented sense of intellectual decolonization. Quijano, and later Ramón Grosfoguel, were concerned to expose several false theoretical claims in social science which are a legacy of Eurocentric bias. Here I argue that tracing the steps by which contemporary decoloniality theory developed from this starting point can reveal some of its principal shortcomings. I seek to show that several of the distinctive metaphysical ideas in contemporary decoloniality theory are founded on drastically undermotivated, hyperphilosophising inferences from empirical premises. Even considered purely on its own terms, I argue, contemporary decoloniality theory exhibits a number of weaknesses and contradictions.

Article Details


How to Cite

Similar Articles

1-10 of 23

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.